Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a small fibre optic camera (arthroscope) is inserted into a joint. Fluid is then inserted into the joint to distend the joint and to allow for the visualization of the structures within that joint. Usually magnified image of the joint is viewed on a monitor so that the whole operating team is aware of the type of surgical procedure that is being performed.
Advantages of arthroscopic surgery over conventional open surgery at the joint.
- Arthroscopes are approximately 5 mm in diameter, so the incisions are very small.
- It is less invasive procedure and hence less painful.
- The time required for stay in the hospital is less and recovery is faster.
Arthroscopy is usually done.
- To examine the inside of joint for damaged tissue.
- To remove loose debris or a torn meniscus.
- To repair or trim a damaged meniscus (cartilage) or reconstruct damaged ligaments.
The choice of arthroscopic surgery for a particular patient depends on physical demands of the patients, the location of the tear, the type of the tear, associated intra-articular pathology, the presence or absence of ligamentous instability, and the patient's ability to remain on crutches and activity restrictions for a significant period of time. The age of the patient becomes significant because as the patient gets older, the likelihood of a degenerative tear increases and the probability of a repairable tear significantly decreases.